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SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME…

Ever make a decision that seemed pretty reasonable only to have it blow up in your face? If not, then read no further and go get fitted for your halo already, the rest of us have some reviewing to do. Let's see, how far back do we want to go? Nehru suits, maybe? Nah, most people are too young to remember those ugly outfits, and if you're 37 you're already older than the majority of Americans. I guess tattoos are a pretty good catch-all for things that seemed like a good idea at the time. A ton of people have got those now, which makes me glad I'm not single anymore.

See, back in the Stone Ages when I was chasing waitresses, if you were in a bar trying to make headway with a lady who you wanted to play adult games with, if you discovered she had a tattoo you were as good as home. If she had a piercing anywhere but in her earlobes the deal was sealed and before the night was over you were bouncing off each other and doing all sorts of wonderful things together. Only the wild ones had tattoos in those days. Not anymore. They're a dime a dozen and even high school kids get their tongues and navels pierced these days, taking all the exotic excitement of such things away.

But this is not about my strategy for getting laid back in the day, it's about the dumb things we do and later regret. I have to say that tattoos and body piercing are a good place to start. Ever see an old biker? That scary skull and cross bones on his his belly resembles a shriveled up pumpkin and the "Born to Raise Hell " emblazoned on his forearm looks pretty lame when he's pushing a walker, that is if you can even read it it as it sags with the aging flesh, looking like the printing on the "Chiller Theater" logo. Ladies, remember that the butterfly on your breast won't always be fluttering in the same spot it is now. Figure about six inches south of its current location and somewhat expanded so that the cute little butterfly now resembles a wrinkled bat . Ditto that dragon on your butt or the rose on your pre-stretch mark tummy.

Such is life. Fortunately, not all of our mistakes stay with us so graphically as our tattoos and piercing scars. Bad haircuts and clothing are temporary, so are some of the idiotic cars we buy. Think you'll see a lot of Hummers on the road once gasoline hits four or five bucks a gallon? I live in New York, one of the flattest cities on earth with virtually no opportunities to kick the all-terrain monster in to climbing mode and crunch through the hilly forests and deserts these vehicles were designed to conquer. Yet a whole lot of people in New York City decided it made sense to purchase one if these behemoths to safely get them from one red light to the next. The authorities here frown on anyone ripping up Central Park or Orchard Beach in their Wild Kingdom trucks, the spoilsports, so maybe that 70-buck fill-up seems like less than stellar planning on your part.

I know I've had my share of poor decisions come back to bite me in the ass. Telling that traffic cop I sure as hell knew how fast I was going and if he didn't pull me over I'd have jacked this baby to over 100MPH was in retrospect a rash statement, one that I had ample time to reflect upon as I sat in jail all weekend waiting my turn in front of a judge who was equally unimpressed by my rapier-sharp wit. There were many further opportunities to re-think my tendency towards glibness over the next six months as I waited for buses and trains to take me to my various destinations while my driver's license was suspended.

There was also those fun sisters who liked to go to bed together with me, a man's dream come true. Who knew they'd turn out to be be married to a couple of stalkers? Maybe I should have figured out beforehand there was something fishy about our arrangements, since they only occurred once a week on what they always referred to as "girls' night out" in a motel in a different state. Or the time I told the toughest guy in the bar he wasn't so tough? Boy was I wrong about that one. Tough as nails, he was. It took me the better part of several decades to figure out that my bad decisions almost all stemmed from consuming prodigious amounts of alcohol so I don't drink anymore. Doesn't make me any smarter but I have to admit I'm not as rash as I once was and my memory is a whole lot better.

Not that memory is always a blessing. Not having a delete button, there's a lot of things rattling around my memory banks that remind me all too vividly of some well-intentioned mistakes I've made, some of them real beauts. Having decided I wouldn't need a college education since I figured I'd make a ton of dough singing and playing guitar doesn't look like such sound decision making in light of how hard I've had to work all my life. The fact that I've educated myself in the ensuing years impresses no potential employers, hence I work for myself these days, one decision I don't regret, at least not all the time. I get along with the boss mostly, even if I do question his decisions here and there

I often wonder if the high and mighty regret some of their obvious gaffes, all bluster and denial aside. You think the compliment "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie!" doesn't grate on President Bush's nerves like fingernails on a blackboard every time some TV comic paraphrases him? I'm sure it does, but that's probably about the only thing he regrets. One gets the impression of our president as not much of a reflective fellow, so he might be a bad example. After all, he's the guy who deserted his post during wartime but still had the gall to paint Senator Kerry as a coward in spite of his chest full of medals the U.S. Army awarded him for valor in the face of the enemy. And the scam actually worked!No, Dubya's not a good example at all for anything resembling normal human reactions. Expecting him to regret his bountiful cornucopia of outrageous mistakes is like expecting Rain Man to apologize for being good at math. "I'm am excellent decider…"

I wonder if Woodrow Wilson thought much about his statement touting our entrance onto the world stage in World War 1 as "The war to end all wars." Lucky for him he didn't live all that long afterwards, maybe another 6 years or so, so he didn't have to eat his words as a steady diet considering all the countless wars large and small that have occurred since his lofty pronouncement. Pretty dumb statement. And this guy was a professor! At least the French Queen Marie Antoinette with her "let them eat cake" signature quote had the excuse that she was a complete idiot. Being a complete idiot, however, didn't absolve her in the eyes of the breadless and cakeless Parisians in charge of the Guillotines. And her saying on the way to the gallows "What I meant was 'let them eat my cake,' "I meantmy cake, you see? I was sharing!" didn't help her cause at all.

Spin doctoring was still in its infancy then. There were no Tony Snows around to try to tell everybody that what they clearly heard the president just say was not really what they heard, you see, it's what I'm telling you now, after the fact. Maybe that's what all of us regular people need, a press secretary, a man or woman who can stand there with a straight face and explain away even our stupidest acts and statements as if they were the most reasonable things in the world, maybe if they're real good make the questioner feel small for questioning our misdeeds in the first place.

"Ah, but you don't understand the context, ladies and gentlemen. Joe Blow was merely symbolically baring a great evil when he mooned the ladies' auxiliary at the Church Fair. As far as stealing the receipts from the bingo game, he was only acting in the best interest of the greater good. Is that not obvious? The community was being corrupted by this wanton gambling on sacred ground and only Mr. Blow was willing to point that out, and the fact that he pointed it out without any pants on only underscores his commitment to draw maximum attention to this foul situation. We should all be thankful to Joe Blow for having the courage of his convictions to open a dialogue on this subject. Let's not stray from the message here! Aren't we pointing fingers in the wrong direction? Didn't that bonfire he started with all those cars in the church parking lot illuminate the facts sufficiently? Remember our Sacred Scriptures: "There are none so blind as those who will not
see!
" Could punching the Pastor in the nose signify Christ cleansing the Temple of money changers any more lucidly?Are you people in favor of corruption in our Houses of Worship? Or do you just want turn a blind eye and and shoot the messenger?"

There you go, one drunken binge and series of outrageous acts explained tidily, one set of questioners put on their guard for asking completely reasonable questions. Misusing religious texts is always a nice touch, very effective. People tend to tread lightly in the face of religious lunacy. And note the liberal doses of meaningless platitudes seeming to make a valid point. Very shrewd. Just think of the stupid things we wouldn't have to regret if we all had our own press secretaries in stead of what we have now, attorneys, who are real expensive and not nearly as effective as today's earnest breed of spin doctors.

Drunk driving would become "Safety tolerance exercises." Aggravated assault would be spun into "preemptive potential aggressor disabling." Theft could become "Asset reallocation." Betrayal? No problem, it's now called "Reassessing one's loyalties in the face of changing realities." Dishonesty becomes "alternate consciousness." Insufferable egotism spins neatly into "Self-awareness," doesn't it? Outrageous behavior? Again, not a biggie. It's now "High-spiritedness" or "A celebratory mood." Boy, why didn't I think of this before I went to that Church Fair?

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